Gamecocks Drop 4-1 Decision at Clemson
March 5, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. - No. 40 South Carolina saw its comeback against No. 23 Clemson thwarted by a late rally in the No. 3 singles match as the Tigers posted a 4-1 victory to end a two-match skid to the Gamecocks. Freshman Andrew Schafer scored a dominant win in the No. 6 singles spot, and South Carolina was rallying from a 3-1 deficit, forcing third sets on two courts, but Clemson's Alejandro Augusto forced then won a tiebreak after trailing 2-5 in his second set with Thiago Pinheiro to clinch the final point the Tigers needed for the win.
South Carolina shook up its doubles teams, looking to get the first point of the match on the board, but the Tigers were not rattled by the shift, scoring wins at the top and bottom of the order. Juniors Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch paired up for the lone doubles win, topping Augusto and Robert Dudley 8-4 in the No. 2 match.
The singles pairings were evenly matched, except for Schafer who established an early 3-1 lead over Brent Lett in the No. 6 spot and Pinheiro who fell behind Augusto by the same score in the No. 3 match. As Schafer won his first set 6-2 and Chip Cox dropped his to Luke Johnson by the same score, No. 112 Adams and Koch were both heading into tiebreaks in their first sets.
The Tigers claimed five of the six first sets available and looked to be in the driver's seat of the match, but Schafer's quick 6-0 second-set dismissal of Lett seemed to turn the tide. No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov was battling back from an early deficit to Hunter Harrington at the top of the lineup, and Pinheiro ran out to a 4-1 lead over Augusto on Court 3.
Harrington ended the threat from Mihov, winning the final two games to break a 4-4 tie to finish off the 6-3, 6-4 victory and make it a 2-1 Clemson lead. Austin Ansari closed out Koch 7-6, 6-2 to bring the Tigers within a point of the team win. South Carolina still had a chance, though, as Cox won his second-set tiebreak over Johnson and Pinheiro was up 5-2 in his second.
Augusto was mounting his comeback, though, winning four of the next five games to force a tiebreak just as Adams won his second set from Maden 6-4. Cox was up 3-1 in his third set, but the Gamecocks needed Pinheiro to hold off Augusto in the tiebreak for the two three-set matches to have an impact. The Tigers' Spaniard carried his momentum into the tiebreak and delivered the match-clinching point.
South Carolina wraps up its three-match road swing, returning to SEC action with at No. 26 Florida on Sun., Mar. 9, at 1 p.m. The Gamecocks are back at home on Fri., Mar. 14, for a 5 p.m. match against No. 16 Georgia at Carolina Tennis Center.
#23 Clemson 4, #40 South Carolina 1Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3)
1. Hunter Harrington/Dominique Maden (CU) def. Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 8-1
2. Andrew Adams/Kyle Koch (SC) def. Alejandro Augusto/Robert Dudley (CU) 8-4
3. Luke Johnson/Austin Ansari (CU) def. Thiago Pinheiro/Andrew Schafer (SC) 8-4
Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4, 3*)